The Travel Promotion Act's New $14 Fee Begins Wednesday
Earlier this summer, the US Government raised passport fees substantially, causing US citizens to reach deeper into their pockets for the ability to travel abroad. With that done, the fall focus will be on wringing a little extra cash from foreign visitors to the US with the new Travel Promotion Act. This act, which goes into effect on Wednesday, September 15, is essentially a $14 fee for entering the country, levied on the heads of travelers from 36 nations.
The 36 nations are those that fall under the US' visa waiver program, which allows visits to the US of up to 90 days without the necessity of a seeking a visa (so long as you don't seek work). Wikipedia has a nice map of these countries here, which includes most of Europe plus Australia/New Zealand and even Japan. So if you're from one of the countries marked in red on the map, you can now expect to plonk down the extra dollar bills.
The $14 fee's purpose isto put it plainlyto take money from tourists for encouraging tourism. $4 will cover the operating costs of registering the travelers for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, and the $10 chunk will then be turned right into a fund for promoting tourism to the United States. We expect Europe to see some fancy new "come eat our apple pies" commercials pretty soon as a result.
At least those foreign travelers who pay the $14 fee are then covered for two years. The fees is not per-trip.
[Photo: Diary of a Smart Chick]